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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Korean Mercedes: SsangYong Chairman CM 600 S


In the chair

If you think the car in the pictures looks a little like the old Mercedes E-Class, then that's because it is! It's the new SsangYong Chairman, and it is based on the same platform as the obsolete German executive model.









If you think the car in the pictures looks a little like the old Mercedes E-Class, then that's because it is! It's the new SsangYong Chairman, and it is based on the same platform as the obsolete German executive model.
In South Korea, the Chairman is one of the most exclusive motors money can buy. And if SsangYong's recent return to the UK with the Rexton 4x4 is a success, the car could be joining the firm's British line-up in less than 18 months' time. We took a spin to see if the Chairman can cut the mustard in the UK executive class, despite its aged design.
Given that it will cost considerably less than its rivals when it goes on sale, the SsangYong stands a good chance. The Mercedes underpinnings might be old, but they're still impressive enough to stand scrutiny next to rivals such as Kia's Magentis and Toyota's Camry.
We tried a Korean-market car, which had ultra-soft suspension and excessive bodyroll, but making it more suited to European tastes would simply be a matter of readjusting the spring rates to the original Mercedes settings. In all other respects, the Chairman is fairly dynamic. The steering is well weighted, the brakes are powerful and the 3.2-litre Merc engine is pretty responsive. Meanwhile, the five-speed auto gearbox is smooth and the brakes pull the car up squarely and safely.
The Chairman is not an exciting model to drive by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels predictable, safe and fairly well balanced. It looks as if SsangYong could score a hit with spec levels, too. Our test machine had heated, vibrating back seats, separate front and rear air-con controls, and a pop-up screen for sat-nav, DVD and stereo.
The interior quality is acceptable, although some of the plastics feel brittle and cheap, while the leather facings aren't up to the quality of top-flight European cars. But the Chairman is a promising contender, and if it's priced correctly, it could well prove a bargain. It has the class and equipment of a full-sized executive, and hopefully the price tag of a much smaller offering


Read more:http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/firstdrives/41724/ssangyong_chairman_cm_600_s.html#ixzz1IZ09jiJo